Leader Blues

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

TOP STORY >> Stumbaugh ready for next campaign

By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

Cabot Mayor Stubby Stum-baugh was right at home Monday night when he addressed the Lonoke County Republican Committee about his race for Congress.

Having served as chairman of the growing organization, he was familiar with the members, and they responded with a $2,000 donation to his campaign.

That brings his campaign fund to $22,000 even before fund-raising efforts have begun in earnest, but Stumbaugh told the group of Republicans that he would need $500,000 to $750,000 to beat Cong. Marion Berry, D-Ark. That meant he would not only need their money, he would need their help in raising more.

Stumbaugh’s promises were the same he has made since he announced his candidacy in August. He will work for economic development by getting money for highways and insurance plans for small businesses.
The First Congressional District is widespread with divergent needs, but Stumbaugh said the farmers in the Delta would not be forgotten. He asked why the federal government isn’t supporting the development of grain-based fuels that would help farmers survive and help everyone else get to work a little cheaper.
The mayor alluded to the change in district lines that combined hill country with the Delta and brought in more Republican voters, a change that would help put him in office. Changes also included Baxter County becoming a part of the First District as a result of redistricting, the growth of Cabot in Lonoke County (which votes a high percentage Republican), the changes in voting trends in Searcy County, Stone County, Independence County, Cleburne County, Prairie County, Craighead County, Greene County and even Arkansas County (Congressman Berry’s home county).

“We have an opportunity to beat Marion Berry,” Stumbaugh said. “The only place Marion Berry is going is back to Gillett.”

The only negative comments came from Steve Bonifant, a former member of the Lonoke County Quorum Court who asked what Stumbaugh planned to do about the problem of illegal immigrants who he said are overburdening the country’s entitlement program.

“This is a hot-button issue and you’ve got to be able to nail it,” Bonifant said.
“The strongest thing I’ve heard from you that really resonates is (Berry’s) ineffectiveness.” Stumbaugh answered that he would welcome Bonifant as a member of a campaign-strategy team. But for now, all he could say is that his opponent was against empowering the military to stop illegal immigrants at the borders.

Asked by one member of the committee if he would remember them when he makes it to Wash-ington D.C, Stumbaugh answered that aside from what he had already promised, all he could offer is a room for the night when they come to town for a visit.

“You can stay at my place,” he said.